PC World's Holiday Wish List

We've been a very good editorial staff this year, and we're sure Santa noticed. So after a year spent looking at the hottest new technology products, we decided that it was time to think about ourselves. Here's a list of a few items we'd like to find under our trees this year.

Big Pictures

I Want My HDTV: HDTVs are what everyone wants to read about, and I'm ready. I'd be happy with the Sharp LC-45GX6U, a 45-inch LCD TV with a resolution of 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. That may be more pixels than anyone can see in today's broadcasts, but the clarity is breathtaking. And I'll be ready when tomorrow's resolutions catch up. Plus the Sharp weighs only 48 pounds, which is considerably less than the ancient 26-inch CRT TV I recently had to lug to the repair shop. -- Dan Sommer

I Still Want My HDTV: Last year I was willing to settle for a Samsung DLP set, but I'd like to request something considerably more upscale. My new dream set is Mitsubishi's LT-4260, a 42-inch LCD that's billed as a "complete flat-panel HDTV system" because it includes such extras as a built-in high-definition digital video recorder, an ATSC tuner (so you can get off-air digital/high-def broadcasts), and a CableCard slot so that you can get enjoy HD (and other digital) cable without having to get a new box. At $12,000, it's unlikely to show up in my living room any time soon, but I can dream, can't I? -- Yardena Arar

If Santa Had Donald Trump's Budget: I have three modest requests. First, how about a DVD player? Well, not just any DVD player. I'm thinking Kaleidescape's $27,000 DVD library playback system. The hardware comes with 1.5 terabytes of storage (enough to store 180 DVDs) and can stream stored DVDs throughout your house. The system allows for fancy sorting and categorizing of DVD titles.

And while you're at it, why not throw in a modest accessory for viewing DVDs--like Panasonic's new TH-65XVS30 Onyx XVS 65-inch plasma set. The massive display was unveiled this year and features High Definition and Multimedia Interface inputs, and SD Card memory and PCMCIA card slots. The price tag? A mere $20,000.

Oh, one more thing if it's not too much. I'm thinking a shoebox stuffed with about $3000 worth of DVD gift certificates to get my movie library started might be nice. Fingers crossed. -- Tom Spring

A Few (Simple?) Requests

Is This Too Much to Ask For?: Not to be too much of a techno-weenie, but I have my heart set on an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard as the core of my dream gaming machine. I'm wishing for the fastest AMD 64 FX CPU I can get my hands on, and I want to take advantage of this motherboard's NVidia nForce4 SLI chip set to install dual GeForce 6800 Ultra-based PCI Express graphics boards for smashing gaming performance. The A8N-SLI Deluxe even allows me to dream of twin RAIDs set up with up to four 3-GB per second SATA drives (expected in Q2). At this writing, the A8N-SLI Deluxe is not yet available or priced, but I expect it to come in under $200. Of course, I'll need some other essentials, such as up to 4GB of DDR-400 memory, a state-of-the-art sound card, and a case that lights up when I enter the room and mixes me a drink--but I'm feeling like I've probably already pushed my holiday luck about as far as it will go. -- Rex Farrance

I Really Do Deserve It: I'd really like a new 15-inch PowerBook with a 1.55-GHz G4, a gig of memory, and a DVD-R-burning SuperDrive. I've been good this year, so I deserve it. -- Rebecca Freed

Unleash Your Inner Spielberg: Forget about some slick gadget that'll become obsolete in 4 months, and who needs a lame-o MP3 player? What I'd love is a copy of Macromedia Flash MX 2004 so I can create some videos from all the photos, 8mm home movies, and audio tapes I have of my grandparents in Omaha, Nebraska. -- Max Green

Picture This: All I want is a little more room of my own, and a widescreen monitor's the way to do it. I can see so much more of the programs I use on the $2000 24-inch widescreen Samsung SyncMaster 243T than on my plain old regular-format LCD. All that extra territory would give my software room to stretch out, and it would give me a rest from toggling back and forth between windows. -- Laura Blackwell

Take Your Pick: Canon's well-reviewed Digital Rebel paved the way last year for (relatively) affordable consumer digital SLRs with a price of about $1000. This holiday season Pentax and Olympus are also offering new entry-level SLRs (and Canon is offering a $100 rebate on the Rebel, which now sells for about $900). Tracey Capen, our resident digicam expert, has only just begun his hands-on testing of the Olympus E-Volt E-300 and Pentax's goofily named *ist DS, so I'm not sure which of the three units I'd pick. Perhaps I'll let Santa choose the right camera for me? --Tom Mainelli

A Sleek Smart Phone: I'm cheap and easily offended by rude public behavior--two reasons I have yet to buy a cell phone. But if I was going to buy one, the Sony Ericsson T637 smartphone recommended by Contributing Editor James A. Martin would be my top pick. The phone combines voice, e-mail, Web surfing, and picture-taking functions in one compact device. Martin's only complaint about the product: The T637's keys are a bit too close together. --Randy Ross

(Virtually) Home for the Holidays: It's not physically possible to spend the holidays with all the relatives--so please, Santa, could you set my far-flung family up with SightSpeed? It has the best lipsync of any video messenger service I've seen, so Dad and I could interrupt each other just as naturally as we do in real life. And with any of the paid plans, we could have a four-person family get-together on a multiparty call. -- Laura Blackwell

For When We're On the Go

Keeping in Touch: My escape from work is to spend time in remote places--deep in the Sierras, down in the southern deserts, high up on a western peak. But I still like to stay somewhat in touch. So the item that tops my wish list is a small, portable satellite radio, such as the $350 Delphi MyFi. -- Tracey Capen

Pretty in Pink: I would like an iPod Mini ($249). Yes, it's a little expensive. Yes, it's only got 4GB of capacity. But it comes in pink, darn it, so I want it and I want someone else to get it for me. I would also like the Apple iPod Mini Arm Band ($29) so I could take it running. -- Narasu Rebbapragada

Better Late Than Never: Sometimes (okay, almost all the time) I feel like the only person in world without a portable MP3 player. I love music, and Apple has been dangling iPod Minis in front of my face, but I still want the Big Kahuna--all 40GB of it. I'm just dragging my feet, I know, but I still want the entire soundtrack to my life--and perhaps even the afterlife--to fit into the palm of my hand. "Dear Santa, . . . " -- Eric Butterfield

Movies to Go: Having rented several DVDs and portable DVD players from InMotion at the San Francisco airport, I'm getting used to watching the movie I choose while flying rather than the one United feels like showing me. But those rentals can get expensive on a long trip, so I think it's time for me to become an owner rather than a renter. Since this is a wish list, I'm going to ask for the best: Toshiba's SD-P2600, which took top honors in our recent Digital World roundup and appears to be going for about $500 online. -- Yardena Arar

Twinkle Twinkle Little Gift: I'm falling in love with tiny technology, and I hope a small MP3 player appears in my stocking. I originally put the sleek $249 Rio Carbon at the top of my wish list. I'm drooling over its 5GB capacity, friendly interface, and 20 hours of battery life. But now there are USB thumb-drive players that hold 1GB of music and weigh next to nothing. Prime example: the $250 IRiver IFP-799. (We loved its sibling, the IFP-790 , which holds 256MB of music.) If I receive one of these Flash memory-based players, I'll have to sacrifice the file management capability and probably will have to put together song playlists on my PC before loading them up. And peering at the tiny screens could be a problem. But the size, the size--like a pack of gum, and they weigh less than 2 ounces! I'll leave it up to the holiday elves. -- Anne McDonald

Digital Personal Trainer: I already own an iPod and I love being able to tote my tunes around with me wherever I go. But when I hit the gym, I'd love the Nike-Phillips MP3Run PSA260. This 256MB digital audio player includes a wireless speed-and-distance monitor that you can clip to your shoes. It registers your foot strikes as you jog along and reports your progress back to you through the headphones. What better way to make sure you don't let those New Year's resolutions slide? -- Liane Cassavoy

  
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